A reader writes:

After last week's tough one, this one has few clues.  The building/landscape looks to be about 10 years old.  Building a decade ago was focused primarily in Florida and Spain.  I'll pick the latter, perhaps Malaga. 

Another writes:

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil? My guess is due to the boardwalk tiles. They look remarkably similar to what I remember of the Copacabana beac. But it was 14 years ago that I visited, at the tender age of 17!


The sidewalk mosaic of pedra portuguesa says Brazil (although it could also be a resort in Portugal) along with the palms and beautiful beach.  It's not Rio, because of the reef out there.  So I'm guessing Recife ("reef" in português).  No idea what resort hotel and I give up after a few Google Image searches on variations of "calçada, praia, pedra portueguesa, mosíaco, ondas, círculos," etc.  I don't want to take the time to scan the coastline with GoogleEarth.


Last week my best guess would have been Luxembourg but for the fact that I didn't think there was enough snow in the photo.  So this week I'll just send in my first gut impression guess.  This looks to me like the Persian Gulf, so I'll guess some resort near Dubai.  Now I won't have to regret not sending in a guess.  :)


Another good view - could be any resort coast in the world.  As usual of late, I can’t come up with a good guess in my 15 minute limit.  But my googlin’ was not in vain; I learned a little about detached segmented breakwaters.  One of the best things about this contest is that it leads me down some interesting rabbit tracks.

But back to my guess: the color of the water and wave characteristics feel like the Pacific (although I know most any ocean can look like another in the right light and weather), the time seems to be morning (low angle shadows, chairs all stacked up), so I believe this coast is facing south.  Thinking about possibilities, how about Punta de Mita near Puerto Vallarta?  I think there are enough luxury resorts there to throw some money at breakwaters …


I am positively giddy as I write you this, as I think I have found the exact spot where this week's pic was taken: The Tel Aviv Promenade, in Israel.

Never having been to Tel Aviv myself, I have to admit that my discovery was a bit of a

Tel Aviv Promenade Next to Sheraton Tel Aviv Hotel Tel aviv beaches
fluke. I Googled "concentric circles beach images" and was lucky enough to find this pic with a legend indicating it was taken on the Tel Aviv promenade, also known as the Tayelet. Then it only became a matter of finding the right spot on the promenade. Unfortunately, Google Maps was of little help, as I was not able to use Streetview to peruse the area. However, using Google Images, I was able to confirm that it was indeed the Tel Aviv Promenade, in an area close to the Sheraton. The attached picture shows the same swing set as the one at the edge of your pic.

So, am I close?

Spot on! But dozens of other readers also recognized the promenade. One writes:

There are two key clues to the location. One - the stone breakers in the ocean are located along most of Tel-Aviv's coast due to the rip tides in the Mediterranean.  Secondly, the distinctive circular pattern of the walkway near the beach looks just like the Herbert Samuel Promenade (another name for the Tayelet).  The palm trees are also a nice indicator as well.  I'm sure that it is more then possible that there is another location in the world that has all three of these features, but I wouldn't hold my breath.  I'd bet that someone will write in and give you the exact location down to the address, but I'll consider it a moral victory just getting the city correct.


The colour of the Mediterranean, the width of the beach, the rock breakers just off shore - it all reminds me of the place. Just missing a few hairy dudes with a nargila.


Damn you and this insidious contest.  I only discovered the VFYW contest three weeks ago.  I was able to figure out Camden in pretty short order due mostly to my familiarity with The Ben Franklin Bridge.  Last week I couldn't narrow my guess any further than "somewhere in Europe".  This week I wasted more time than was in any way justified.  The breakwater and the circular pattern of the sidewalk was my jumping off point.  The sidewalk pattern along the Copacabana in Rio was close but no cigar.  The signage suggested a busy public thoroughfare but I couldn't find any popular resort beaches in the US, Mexico or the Caribbean with the low breakwaters except on the south coast of Curacao but they lacked the distinctive sidewalks.  A number of Italy's Mediterranean beaches have breakwaters but they are much chunkier.

Finally, while searching photos of "beach promenades" I spotted a photo that included both the sidewalk and the jetties.  Unfortunately, once I honed in on Tel Aviv I couldn't find a photo that included the stairs and the signage.  I found a vacation video that I'm convinced would have been more helpful if the videographer hadn't gotten distracted by the jumping girl at 1:50.


I immediately thought Tel Aviv from the circular patterns in the pavement, but the little globular while street lights clinched it.  I searched “tel aviv beach from hotel” in Flickr and found this photo, which clinched the location.


I snooped around and found this 360-degree view of that exact location. So this is the entrance to Gordon Beach in Tel Aviv, as seen from the left hand side of the Sheraton hotel. If I had to guess, I would say the picture was taken somewhere between the second and fifth floor (the parking garage next to the Sheraton is barely visible on the left and side of the picture). Good stuff - I used to live about five minutes walk from there.


It's a great beach even time of year, just not the water. I was there for New Years Eve 2008. Several friends of mine got a hotel together and had to cram five people into one room. Luckily one guy decided to stay later at the bar and passed out on the beach from 3am to 6am. (A few days later in that area I had to help a Russian photographer carry a tripod late at night right before taking a bus through the Sinai into Cairo.  Fun times.)

The circle pattern and the boardwalk gives it away. I had to make sure and confirmed it with this video of a bike ride. They even say that the boardwalk is a little wierd. Also I have never seen those kinds of wave breakers elsewhere.


Woo-hoo! I finally got one that wasn't ridiculously easy. Or maybe this was easier than Tel aviv sheraton I thought (the lack of high quality satellite images was a hindrance).  This shot was taken from the 6th floor on the southern side of the Tel Aviv Sheraton looking west. See attached picture for a map with the approximate sight lines. And here's a link to a Google Map.

I have no personal story or any interesting facts about this hotel, this beach or even Tel Aviv, although the picture is a nice contrast to the gray outside my window today.


I recognize that boardwalk design anywhere! It's where I proposed to my wife exactly seven years ago during our Thanksgiving vacation. She thankfully said Yes. We've been looking to go back for a visit and with this photo, I cannot imagine a better time than now!


Recognized this almost immediately, and checking the pattern on the promenade with google images confirmed it. This is a view of the Tayelet, where I spent one idyllic morning spent walking up and down while my Israeli friend drove his mother around to all the doctor's offices of Tel Aviv. (Seeing as I couldn't even win when you featured the building I had lived in for three years, I am certain I won't win this one, but it still was a beautiful time spent on that beach.)


I had the pleasure of staying in that hotel several times while on business with the U.S. Army.  It has the best breakfast ever!  Your contest brings up many such locations and fond memories.


I also once stayed at this part of the beach, high up in a hotel. About eight years ago, a friend and I were filming a documentary and had to film some footage in Israël. My friend, who is Israeli, decided not to go frugal, but, instead, to spend some money for a really nice hotel, so that we could relax after work and not feel miserable in some crummy place. We moved into this large 5-star place at the beach. Every day after filming we would rush back to the hotel for a post-work dip, since the pool was open until nine. It was great. I could not for the life of me remember its name and I wasn't sure of the exact location, so thank you for letting me spend part of New Year's day checking out the websites of Tel Aviv hotels.


I'm fairly sure I have this one nailed. The window is on the south side of the Sheraton

Tel Aviv, fifth floor, closest room to the beach. Although, I didn't propose to my girlfriend on this balcony or happen to be looking at it while reading The Dish, I did film a scene from a travel montage on Israel and Palestine on the section of beach in the photo. The Dish was kind enough to run that video as a Mental Health Break not too long ago. I've attached a photo I took from ground level at this same spot. Love it!


This is the beach in Tel Aviv (picture taken from the Sheraton hotel). The beach is called Frishman. The "Sheraton beach" is farther north. A more interesting beach is the Hilton beach to the north of Frishman.  It is Tel Aviv's gay beach, and is right next to a sex segregated religious beach.  A juxtaposition that might be more remarkable in a country that wasn't already so full of them.

The winner of this week's contest goes to the following reader, who has correctly guessed several views but has yet to get the prize:

Another challenging photo.  The color of the sand and the shape of the trees suggested a beach resort somewhere other than the Pacific, the Caribbean, etc.  The southern Mediterranean or Red Sea seemed more likely.  (Also, since there is a gentleman wearing a dark suit walking toward the left edge, it seemed likely that the photo was taken in a city with several beachfront hotels.)

After looking at various North African coastlines on Google Maps for a while, I decided to try something else.  I used Google Images to search for various beaches with breakwaters and distinctively patterned beachside walkways.  Eventually I came across Tel Aviv's Shlomo Lahat Promenade [a section of the Tayelet] which displayed the same pattern as in the photo.  I also found photos of the same stacked beach chairs.

The satellite photos on Google Maps are rather blurry and Google Street View is not

Screen shot 2011-01-04 at 12.28.51 PM
available - a sobering indication that Tel Aviv is taking its security very seriously.    Judging from the position of the photographer in relation to the breakwater and the roundish area of green in the walkway, I would guess that the photo was taken from a building between Hayarkon and Retsif Herbert Samuel Streets (map attached).  My hunch is that this is a hotel, and the Sheraton Tel Aviv seems to be the nearest.  The white color of the balcony appears to correspond to this external shot of the hotel (image attached).  The photo was taken from a south-facing room on one of the lower floors.

I'm keeping my fingers crossed on this one.  I've gotten a number of the recent photos correct - I was especially proud of Marais and Camden - but I've yet to make the final cut.  It would be a nice start to the new year ...

Happy New Year!